Mulberry's presence has loomed large at London fashion week this season, from providing the adorable fashion week totes (emblazoned with the slogan "Ooh, I say!" and featuring a drawing of a Mulberry bag), to the real thing being carried on the arms of show goers everywhere I look. The theme for their stellar spring show was no less all-encompassing.
It all started with a box-like invitation that opened to play a tinny music box song. Upon arriving at Claridge's ballroom for the show, I was greeted by an ice cream truck, lemonade in glass bottles, and giant ice cream cones everywhere. The fantasy continued inside, with animal balloons crowding every corner of the room. The runway entrance was a clown's mouth, designed to look like a funhouse ride. As cheery carnival music started to play, it suddenly got dark, and thunder and "lightning" cracked. This is the British seaside in summer.
Emma Hill, Mulberry's creative director told me, "I was looking at old photos of my and my family. We used to go to a barrier island. It's such an English thing to do. We would all be in our swimwear...with umbrellas eating fish and chips on the beach in the rain." She went on to say, "We're all about layering, so we did a whole 'be prepared' thing."
I think I had a smile on my face for the duration of the show. Perhaps it was all the VIP pups sitting front row (and walking the runway). Olivia Palermo was there, too, swamped by non-canine admirers, though I missed the ultimate VIP sighting since Kristen Stewart and Kate Moss were present at an earlier show (Mulberry ran twice due to a smaller venue.) The clothes were a sight to behold (styled by W's new fashion and style director, Edward Enninful). The now-officially-everywhere yellow was on the first pieces, looking chic and sporty on a pull-over windbreaker and bags in pebbled patent leather. Easy neutrals broke up the yellow, and Mulberry's preferred skirt length this season is maxi. My favorite pieces were a series of tube dresses featuring large alternating blocks of pink, yellow, and green.
Two new animal print mash-ups, called Plastic Animals and Airbrush Animals, are yet another creative re-working of the animal print trend by British designers (I admired Henry Holland's version on Saturday.) And if you need something really sparkly at the beach, the gem and mirror-encrusted pieces (called Posh Pier Gear, inspired by festoon lights on a pier) were amazing, and I saw twinkling stars gleaming among all the bling.
Mulberry likes a party (as Emma Hill told me) and they threw a hell of an after party on Sunday night. The Hurts played Claridge's ballroom, champagne and ice cream flowed freely, and Kelis and Kristen Stewart stopped by, along with a smiley Henry Holland.
If Mulberry's nostalgic version of the English seaside is accurate, we're skipping the Hamptons this summer and heading across the pond.